Anphabe – Plan Your Career Effectively

April 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Anphabe

( – Career planning needs time and serious preparation as there are many important things to consider. How do you plan your career? What do you want to achieve in the next three or five years? Members of had a discussion with Mr. Chris Harvey – CEO of VietnamWorks and Navigos Search to get best tips.


According to you, What are important factors one should consider to do career planning?
The phrase “career planning” reminds me of something General Dwight D.Eisenhower said — “Plans are worthless, but planning very valuable!”

What Eisenhower meant was that even the best prepared plans cannot predict the future. Reality has a way of surprising us. But the act of planning, of thinking through what you want, is incredibly important. In my 20s I never in a million years planned to be CEO of a company in Vietnam. It just worked out that way.

If you’re deciding on a career for yourself, I suggest you start by looking inside yourself and at your history and seeing what excites you. We spend a lot of our time working. Life is very boring if you work at a job that you don’t enjoy, or that doesn’t stimulate you. So make some effort to discover what your passions are.

When you find what you enjoy, put your entire heart into it!

Career Planning
According to you, what is the most important one?
Goals are most important.

Imagine the life you want in one year or 3 years. Close your eyes and imagine you have what you want, right now. Describe that life — where you live, what job you have, how much money you make, everything. Imagine the steps that you took to get those things.

Now open your eyes and come back to the present. Write down your goals. Break the goals down into smaller goals that lead to the big goal. Then, underneath each smaller goal, list the actions you must take to achieve the smaller goals.

Then TAKE ACTION! Action is the biggest thing that separates successful people from unsuccessful people.


You’ve mentioned PASSION. It’s hard to identify a true passion with something we like. How to know what we’re really passionate about
Your passions are already inside you. You just need to discover them.

One way to do that is to take a blank sheet of paper. Write down all your past jobs and activities. Think back to those times. Let your mind wander as you remember. Which activities gave you energy as you were doing them? Write down as many of those activities as you can, no matter how small. Look for patterns and themes. Those are clues to your passions.

I did this exercise many years ago. One activity I particularly enjoyed was volunteering to teach English and American citizenship to immigrants in Washington, DC after work one night each week. I remember that I’d usually be tired after a day of work. Sometimes I didn’t want to go teach. But as soon as I stepped into the classroom I felt amazing energy and excitement. The energy would stay with me for hours after class ended. It just made me feel good.

After doing the exercise, I realized that one of my passions is teaching and coaching people and watching them grow. My job as a manager of people gives me lots of opportunities to teach and develop others, which I love.

If you’re like me, you have multiple passions. After you discover your passions, try to find a job or career where you can use as many of your passions as possible.

It is said that we should do what we are passionate about, then money will come. But I do see many people follow their dreams, but can’t make a decent living with their passions.
If you can’t make a decent living with your passion, then you have no choice than to do some other work. But please do choose some other work that has at least SOME of your passion. You can still do your main passion on the side on your days off.

There are lots of stories of people who started with their passion on the side, then to their surprise it grew to a big business. You must take some risk in life to find your joy. Otherwise, what is the point in living?

As John Paul Jones (a famous person in American history) said: “It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win”.
money or passion
How about choosing between money and passion?
I honestly don’t believe that you always have to choose between money and passion. I think you can have both. Passionate people love what they do, which makes them great at it (if they have some talent in that area as well).

Sometimes people will say that you *must* choose between money and passion if, say, your passion is to paint but no one will buy your paintings.
In this case there is no “correct” answer for this question. Everyone must answer it for themselves. It depends on your values or your circumstances in life. One way to clarify your answer might be “Can I imagine living like this the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, then you should change something.

I have a friend with a young family in Texas, USA. He’s an IT consultant making good money. But he hates his job. He hates the work. I’ve been encouraging him to work with his real passion, which is physical fitness and weight lifting. He is so passionate and knowledgeable in those areas. I think he would enjoy life more if he could bring his passions more into his life.
Your main focus should NOT be on money
The end in mind of many people when doing career planing would be: Being rich and have high position in a good company. How does this ultimate objective impact the way a person plan their career?
Ah, the age-old question — “What can I do to make a lot of money?” The easiest answer is “steal!”

Kidding aside, if you want to make a lot of money your main focus should not be on money. Yes – you heard me right. Your main focus should NOT be on money.

Money is important. I like money too. But focusing on money doesn’t make money come. You get paid a salary because you provide value to an employer (or provide value to customers if you own a business).

Instead of money, you should focus on how you can provide the most value to your employer or to your customers. If you provide a lot of value, they will be willing to pay you a lot of money in exchange for your value.

It’s important to choose a career or job that i) you enjoy doing, and ii) that you’re good at. Only if you’re passionate about your work and have a talent for it will you have the stamina and ability to do what it takes to create great value and get paid a high salary.

Also, I suggest you learn to negotiate your salary. Creating value is necessary, but it’s not enough. Knowing how to negotiate a salary will help you to capture more of the value you create. This article is one of the best I’ve ever read about salary negotiation:

According to you, What should I do if the company cannot support my personal development plan?
It’s challenging to answer your question without more details. If you mean that the company does not have a career path for you, that’s ok. If you want to advance at that company, the way to do it is to take initiative and do jobs that you have not been asked to do. (Bosses love that!) Then, after you’ve been adding extra value and taking initiative, ask for a promotion or salary increase.

You might also ask your boss “How can I perform to make sure you get promoted?” I guarantee your boss will love that too. Then, when your boss is promoted, you get promoted to his job.

One thing that is VERY IMPORTANT in your career is your ability to ASK for what you want. Don’t ask, don’t get.


Chris, do you think we can plan for an entrepreneur career? What should one do or learn to prepare for an entrepreneur career?
I think it’s tough to “plan” for an entrepreneur career. The only way you will really know if you want to be an entrepreneur is to try it. Entrepreneur life isn’t easy, and it isn’t for everyone.

On the other hand, entrepreneur life can have many rewards. The freedom to create is one of the biggest in my opinion.

My best advice to someone considering being an entrepreneur is to do it right away!

From an employer’s perspective, what do you think on the responsibility of employers about career development of their employees? How should they build the succession plan for the long – term development of the company?
I believe that employers have a responsibility to help their staff grow and develop. Note that I said “help.” Each person — not their employer — holds final responsibility for his or her own career development.

One of my main responsibilities as CEO is to help our people grow and develop their careers. I tell them this up front, and also tell them that in a few years they will be ready to move on to their next career step. that may be inside or outside the company.

People love it when you tell them that you want to help them grow. They love it even more when you take action!

I also have an idea for how long people will be in their jobs. When they’re ready to move on they tell me. They don’t hide it because I already created the expectation that they would move on to another company one day. I always try to structure teams so that when one person leaves another person can move up to take his or her place. People love it when they can advance. A company that promotes insiders before hiring outsiders is a company that wins greater loyalty from people.

Thank you for sharing with us!

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